Messier 96
Image Credit & Copyright:
Mark Hanson and Mike Selby

Explanation: Spiral arms seem to swirl around the core of Messier 96 in this colorful, detailed portrait of a beautiful island universe. Of course M96 is a spiral galaxy, and counting the faint arms extending beyond the brighter central region it spans 100 thousand light-years or so. That’s about the size of our own Milky Way. M96 is known to be 38 million light-years distant, a dominant member of the Leo I galaxy group. Background galaxies and smaller Leo I group members can be found by examining the picture. The most intriguing one is itself a spiral galaxy seen nearly edge on behind the outer spiral arm near the 1 o’clock position from center. Its bright central bulge cut by its own dark dust clouds, the edge-on background spiral appears to be about 1/5 the size of M96. If that background galaxy is similar in actual size to M96, then it would be about 5 times farther away.

Tomorrow’s picture: the red planet rocks

Mark Hanson and Mike Selby

说明: 在这幅细致、色彩缤纷的美丽宇宙岛影像里,螺旋臂似乎在绕着M96的星系核打转。很明显的,M96是一个螺旋星系,如果把较明亮中心区外头的黯淡螺旋臂算进来,它的跨幅大约是10万光年,大小约莫和我们的银河系相当。M96距离我们3800万光年,是狮子座I星系群的大型成员。如细看这幅影像,不难找到到背景星系和狮子座I星系群的小型成员。其中最有趣的,是位在影像中心1点钟方向的外螺旋臂后方之几乎侧向螺旋星系。这个明亮中央鼓核受到黝黑尘埃云切割的侧向背景螺旋星系,大小看来是M96的5分之1。如果那个背景星系的实际大小与M96相近的话,那么它的距离大约会比M96远5倍。

<明日的图片: the red planet rocks